Republican leader Vos says automatic voter registration bill ‘isn’t needed’

Evers: 'Every single vote counts'
Republican leader Vos says automatic voter registration bill ‘isn’t needed’
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Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill Monday that would implement automatic voter registration in Wisconsin, but it faces a long road ahead with the Republican-controlled state Legislature.

“I have been committed to making sure every single vote counts,” said Democratic Gov. Tony Evers at a news conference, as he announced his support for the bill authored by state Rep. David Crowley and state Sen. Dave Hansen.

.@GovEvers joins @DavidCrowleyWI and @SenDaveHansen in unveiling automatic voter registration legislation.

“I have been committed in making sure every vote counts,” Evers says. #news3now

— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) May 20, 2019

The measure would automatically register people in Wisconsin to vote when they apply for driver’s licenses and state IDs.

Evers proposed the idea as part of his two-year spending plan, but the Republican-controlled Joint Committee on Finance removed it and a host of other items from the budget proposal this month.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the measure “isn’t needed” because Wisconsin has online voting registration and same-day registration.

“This bill is a solution looking for a problem. It’s easy to register to vote in Wisconsin,” Vos said.

.@SpeakerVos says the new Democratic automatic voter registration bill isn’t needed. Here’s his full statement. #news3now

— Rose Schmidt (@RoseSchmidtTV) May 20, 2019

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell said he supports the proposal, adding that he believes it could create less work for clerks on Election Day.

“As a same-day voter registration state… we have fairly high registration rates, but this would just make it easier,” he said.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission would be required to work with the Department of Transportation to implement voter registration.

McDonell said clerks could face challenges in streamlining the records between the two organizations.

“Some of the state databases that you’d be using are not set up the same way as the voter database, and so you need to make sure that the fields line up,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Elections Commission said the commission had not taken a position on the bill.

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